Longhouse Projects Presents Mary Ellen Strom's STAND BY SNOW, 11/7-12/20
Mary Ellen Strom: Stand by Snow
Opening Reception: November 7, 2013, 6-8pm
Exhibition Dates: November 7 - December 20, 2013
Longhouse Projects presents Mary Ellen Strom's exhibition Stand by Snow, her first solo show with the gallery.
In this exhibition, Strom uses her camera to question the impulse to stand apart from nature. Rather than recognizing human forms and qualities in objects in nature, Strom suggests the need to see those objects as having their own kinds of being and knowledge. The exhibition includes three works, "Selva Oscura: Drawing of Dead Standing," "Mary," and "Tree Lines", all set in a Lodgepole Pine Forest in the Rocky Mountains of Montana. The trees, infected and killed by the Pine Beetle, are referred to as "dead standing."
"Selva Oscura: Drawing of Dead Standing," consists of a two-channel video projected on large pinewood screens. The title refers to the "dark forest" at the beginning of Dante's canto "Inferno" from The Divine Comedy, commonly interpreted to represent the internal disorientation of the protagonist. One channel shows an overhead shot of the artist drawing thick charcoal lines on a white surface. Once these lines fill the entire frame of the shot, she removes herself leaving a blank spot where she once sat. The second channel pans horizontally through the trees, finally stopping at a clearing in the woods.
The second gallery shows "Mary," a two-channel video with a score by MJ Williams. Strom uses cinematic language visually, musically and vocally, to stage an elegiac scene. Like a group of actors, the dead trees, are painted and made beautiful again, while simultaneously the narrator's voice directs the forest with commands such as: "Go wind" and "Stand by snow. Snow go."
A new installation, "Tree Lines" is made up of photographic portraits of painted trees. Using these photographs, Strom has created seven line drawings. Each line ranges from three to ten feet in height and together they generate the NTSC video color bar spectrum. The varying lengths produce an explanatory table of elongated or truncated time.